Fixing “Countdown to Craziness”

Here at Duke, tonight marks the official beginning of basketball season with “Countdown to Craziness.” Fans pack into Cameron Indoor Stadium to hear the team introduced, see a split-squad scrimmage and a slam dunk contest afterwards. Sounds thrilling, right? Wrong.

I’m about as big a Cameron Crazy as they come. I’ve tented all four years and never been worse than tent #8. I’ve been to every Duke basketball game that I’ve been in Durham for. My friends can attest to my Cameron Craziness.

But even I don’t get excited for Countdown to Craziness. It’s become such an absurd event and is actually really awkward. During the scrimmages, fans have no idea to cheer for. There’s obviously no taunting, “air ball-ing,” or other defensive chants. You cheer each time a team scores and that’s about it. It’s fun to see the players red shirting who we won’t get to see the rest of the year (Rodney Hood this year and Andre Dawkins – though I’m not sure if he’s playing tonight). But it’s really just strange.

The introductions are cool, though a bit over done. Certainly, Nolan Smith’s entrance in my freshman year (0:52 second mark) to Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement” was pretty great. But most entrances are just too over-the-top.

And then there’s the dunk contest. In my three years at Duke, I haven’t seen a dunk in the contest yet that has wowed me. There have been some good ones but nothing great and there have also been a lot of not-very-good ones. Of course, most dunk contests in recent years at any level haven’t been great (oh how I long for the days of Vinsanity).

But the worst part is the event has lost it’s true meaning. “Countdown to Craziness” used to occur at midnight when NCAA rules first allowed the team to practice. At midnight the team would come out and have its first practice, with fans cheering them on. Now, that’s cool.  That rush of the clock striking midnight and the team coming out, ready to practice as soon as possible means something.That’s what Countdown to Craziness should be.

Duke began practicing last week though and already have taken a trip to Fort Bragg. It’s not the beginning of the season. It’s just an awkward event to show off the team and impress recruits (a number of important ones will be in attendance tonight). Normally, Countdown to Craziness is on the first day the team is allowed to practice. That does make it better. I’m not sure why it’s pushed back a week this year – most teams had their “Midnight Madness” last Friday. But even then, it’s still not at midnight.

Nevertheless, it’s still a chance to see the team up close and have some fun. And wit that, I’m off to go get in line.

What Was Bernie Fine’s Wife Thinking?

When Bobby Davis and Mike Lang first came forward saying that Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine sexually molested them, I, like many, was suspicious. The accusations came just days after the scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, the long-time assistant of former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno. It just seemed too coincidental for Davis and Lang to wait until just that moment. And given that Lang is Davis’ step-brother), it seemed more like a way for the two men to get a payoff then anything else.

Well, I owe both men an apology for doubting them.

Today, Outside The Lines released a 2002 audio tape of a conversation between Davis and Fine’s wife, Laurie Fine, in which she admits:

I know everything that went on, you know. I know everything that went on with him … Bernie has issues, maybe that he’s not aware of, but he has issues … And you trusted somebody you shouldn’t have trusted.

Davis recollects Laurie Fine telling him that she once witnessed the molestation herself, peeking through a window and seeing her husbands horrifying acts.

And yet what did Laure Fine do? Nothing. Zero. Zippo.

How could she possibly sit back and let her husband sexually molest a young boy? How could she continue to let it happen? Why didn’t she tell Davis not to come over? Or get rid of the personal room that Davis had in their home? Why didn’t she go to the cops or to Syracuse University? Why didn’t she do anything in her power to put a stop it?

We’ll never know the answer, but it is despicable that she did nothing. Even worse, Davis claims that he and Laurie Fine also had sexual relations themselves when he was 18. Laurie Fine goes on to say:

You know, he needs … that male companionship that I can’t give him, nor is he interested in me, and vice versa

So neither husband nor wife had any interest in each other but they did share one thing in common: a revolting, sexual interest in Bobby Davis.

Big East Struggles In Early Season Games

Note: I have spent the past few months studying abroad in Florence, Italy and have been unable to update the site. Look for more updates and posts in the next few weeks and onwards.

Every year, we hear how good the Big East is at basketball. Experts wonder how many teams the league can get into the NCAA tourney and how many teams have legitimate Final Four aspirations. Last year, 11 Big East teams danced. After the first weekend, guess how many remained?

Two.

The conference had five teams ranked in the top four in their brackets, meaning that all five were expected to advance to the Sweet 16, but only one of those teams, eventual National Champion UCONN, did. The only other team to reach the second weekend from the Big East was Marquette and they advanced by knocking off another Big East team in Syracuse. In retrospect, the conference was not worthy of 11 teams.

In his college basketball preseason power rankings for Yahoo Sports on September 14, Jason King said, “The Big East may be even tougher than it was last season.” Well, given the conference’s poor showing last March, that shouldn’t bee too hard to accomplish. Except, King’s tone implies that he thinks the Big East was tremendous last year and can actually out do that last year. Continue reading “Big East Struggles In Early Season Games”